• Best Buddies and Long Lines: Diary of a Reunion Chair

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006
    News Type

Four years at Dartmouth, four years of medical school, eight years of surgical training, and a practice that has included a lot of trauma have prepared me to be Reunion chair. Here's the inside story of the Class of 1981 Reunion, June 14 - 18, 2006.

Rick Silverman ‘81

Thursday, June 15, 2006

6:49 am

Woke up in 109 Andres, a little disoriented. Took two Aleve, had a protein shake, answered a few new emails, went back to sleep.

Rick and Toby Reiley at the class picnic. Photo by John Douglas.

9:08 am
Met George at Brace Commons to check the items under the tablecloth. Yes, still there.

Had breakfast at Lou's. I somehow resisted a cruller.

10:53 am
Back to Zimmerman Lounge for the meeting for Field of Dreams, the lollapalooza of Reunion Week, with a projected 2,500 people, a band, picnic foods, and kids games out on Chase fields. It's sunny outside, we kept saying. As long as it stays sunny, we'll actually have the Field of Dreams, rather than the Field of Nightmares, which is what I think Dave Orr had been secretly envisioning for the past few months. If the fields are dry . . . if the weather holds . . . if cows fly . . . I have no doubt that everyone will have a great time, no matter what, but at some point, Dave may need a refill on his anti-ulcer medication. I just hope I don't have to beat anyone up for forgetting their wristband.

1 pm
Registration officially begins!

George and I and our student workers assembled in Brace, apparently in error, since the schedule reportedly said we'd be at the tent by the Sphinx. At this point, with all the souvenir backpacks in the closet, all the t-shirts strategically placed around the room, and all the Reunion packets lined up in alphabetical order, we weren't moving. At least not for now. A sign and Chip Bettencourt directing traffic to Brace would be adequate, we figured.

And the registration was a trickle so far, so our organizational skills were not yet tested.

3:18 pm
I checked out the panel titled “Smart Spaces: Planning and Building for the Dartmouth Experience” put on by Tom Luxon and his colleagues. It was interesting to learn how important the concepts of space and classroom are to the educational experience. While I enjoyed the panel, I felt guilty about not helping with registration.

4:20 pm
Back to Brace. By now, there'd been some thorough testing of our registration system. The student workers were packing up to move to the class tent by the Sphinx, and a few indicated a potential for “registration burnout.” Classmates were showing up in clumps now. Faces appeared, and names would often pop miraculously into my head: Hey, Jon Bassindale '81! Susan McLaughlin Jangro '81! Sometimes they wouldn't, but more times than I'd have guessed, I did remember the names.

My next job was to go get the wine openers I'd bought, which were in my room in Andres.

6 pm
Returned to the tent to find only minor chaos. A power problem with the beer truck was solved, the beer started to flow, the wine was uncorked (the student workers were amazed at the fancy cork puller—so easy to impress undergraduates!), the line moved smoothly at the registration table, and the barbecue was being set up.

So good to see old friends, get to know other classmates a little better, and feel like all the work was paying off. I could see excited anticipation on the faces of my classmates, along with a little confusion on the faces of their family members, who maybe did not quite understand such intensity of feeling for a college.

9:34 pm
Dean Lodmell '81's slide show was really cool. At his own expense, he created a wonderful collection of slides, combined it with some music of the period, and put together a DVD, making enough copies for every classmate who attended the Reunion. Jim Hollis, a local guitarist and singer, played the Rolling Stones, Springsteen, the Eagles, Van Morrison . . . the soundtrack to our lives at Dartmouth.

1:20 am
Stretched out on my luxurious twin bed in Andres, I tiredly reflected that all evening, I experienced what Reunion is about for me: trying to get another beer and spending 45 minutes getting to the beer table, because every time I walk away from a conversation with one classmate, I turn to face another old pal I realize I've missed for at least the past six years.